Internet, Services

How a Burglar Uses Twitter to Break Into Your Home

homesecurity_social_mediaIt's amazing how much information people give away these days but when they return from vacation to find that their house has been burgled they can't understand how it happened. I, however, could tell them exactly where they dropped their guard because I've been tracking them for weeks on Twitter.

It's really quite simple: I set up an account with a fake name and use an anonymous avatar and then follow everyone I can find from my home town. Identifying them is easy because the majority of Twitter users put their exact location in their profile and a simple search will always help me track them down.

So you could make things a little tougher by leaving that piece of information out but that won't deter me from finding my targets. Even if every resident in my home town failed to declare their location it wouldn't really affect me because I would continue to track the local businesses and it doesn't take an Einstein to figure out which of their followers live nearby.

But simply stating your location isn't enough because I need to know exactly when you will be away from home. Now we all like to boast about our vacation so it's only a matter of time before one of you slips up and gives me the perfect opportunity to gain access to your home.

Once I know that a target is away from home I check their profile thoroughly. Where do they live exactly? Do they live alone? Do they have a pet?

While I'm spying I'll take a look at Facebook at the same time. It's a little trickier to crack than Twitter but once I've established that you're away from home, I'll check all those lovely vacation pictures just to make sure.

I'm an old school burglar with years of experience but I have so much to thank the Internet for. Now, I can find out who is absent from their property and I can virtually case the exterior by taking a look at Google maps. It's just made things so easy for me!

With many properties I can zoom right in - maybe even look through the windows if your drapes are open and then I can see the valuables inside. But the first item I'm looking for is an alarm system at the front of the property and if you have one of the really good ones then I might stay away.

However, if there's no sign of an alarm then I'm really interested and don't be too confident if you have a dummy box because I can easily identify the fakes.

The digital age has really revolutionised my approach to crime and if I'm feeling a little lazy there is even a website that does a lot of the work for me. It's supposed to raise awareness about too much sharing but in reality it offers me some priceless additional information about the whereabouts of Twitter users.

The Internet has other benefits too: Did you know that the criminal fraternity even has its own forum? It's invite only so I'm not sending you the link but it's quite an active place where people like me pop in from time to time. I don't share details of empty homes because I want them all to myself but sometimes people will help each other out by passing on credit card details.

But most of the time I like to be active so I aim to be out in the community, breaking into properties whenever I can. Social media is the place to pick up the best information because that's where homeowners can be so careless.

But I am quite technical and most of my targets would have no idea that I've installed a keylogger onto their home computer. Now I don't even have to use Twitter and Facebook to find out when they're going away and you'd be amazed how many burglary victims don't even bother to update their security.

Actually, I don't mind giving out a few tips about staying secure because even if every reader follows this advice, there will be plenty of Social Media users who keep on making the same mistakes. Firstly, invest in the strongest security system you can afford because if I recognise a top quality deterrent then I'm likely to avoid your home.

And remember to be more careful when posting about your vacation: Why not do it when you come back and you can tell all your followers about those great places while safe in the knowledge that I won't be bothering you.

Be vigilant too: When it comes to Twitter do you know who really follows you and, moving over to Facebook, do you know who your friends really are?

If you have any questions, please ask below!